Use a Universal Design Approach
- Explain that making the changes you need would be helpful for many of their members. 5 Here are some points you can use:
- Over 54 million Americans, or nearly 20% of the population, have a disability or activity limitation. This is a growing niche market for the fitness industry.
- Removing barriers could increase their membership. Making the facility more accessible can bring in new members who need these changes, and might go elsewhere, if they could not use this facility.
- Removing barriers would make the facility more usable for everyone. Fitness centers that do not have barriers, and provide equipment that features that are usable by people with a wide range of abilities and needs make all members more satisfied and loyal. For example:
- Larger bathroom stalls are easier for people who use wheelchairs and for people with children.
- Easy to understand signs, including text as well as simple pictures and symbols are more appropriate for people who have visual disabilities, and for those who have difficulty reading.
- Exercise equipment that is more accessible for members with disabilities is also easier for others to use, including those who are new to exercise and older adults.
- Equipment that can be used in a seated position can allow people with temporary injuries, and conditions (for example, a runner with a leg injury) to maintain fitness
Principles of Universal Design, http://design.ncsu.edu/cud/about_ud/udprinciples.htm.